Don't get Burned: Sunscreen Review, Part 2

Happy first week of spring! Longer days and warmer weekends mean more time in the sun. Yay for vitamin D! We all know that limiting time in the sun and covering up is the best way to avoid getting burnt but, come on, I know you are not going to hide out inside in the middle of the day. You are an adventurer. You live to be outside. You are stoked to get on that board or throw on those hiking shoes and spend the whole day out in nature. That is not going to change. So, it is time to get that sunscreen supply ready.

This is the third post on sunscreen; if you missed the first on how to choose a sunscreen, check it out here. The sunscreens reviewed in the second are included in my ranking at the end of this post. In these posts I explain why the best sunscreen choices for your health and the environment are mineral. (Versus chemical, more on that in the first post.) I know this is not everyone’s favorite option. For all you who are not drinkin’ the mineral sunscreen cool aid, I hear you. I get it. Many of the products my friends and I tried out left us with a white film on our skin and were super hard to rub in. In fact, one of my favorites left me with a nice burn mark on my back where I just could not rub it in well enough. This review has a couple of chemical sunscreens I think are pretty darn good and can recommend with a green conscience. You will notice that I will never recommend a product with oxybenzone as an ingredient. If you are to remember one thing when picking out a chemical sunscreen, remember that. If you can find a chemical sunscreen with avobenzone and without oxybenzone, plug it into Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep website and see what the score is. If it scores a 4 or below, I say go ahead and give it a try. 

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The first two sunscreens on this list are my favorite chemical sunscreens and the others are mineral. If you try any of these and love or hate them, or if find another that you love, please shoot me a message or leave a comment below so we can share your thoughts with the rest of the community. Enjoy your adventures without the burn!! 

Ocean Potion SPF 30

  • Chemical sunscreen
  • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene
  • Skin Deep score: 3
  • Water Resistant: 80 minutes
  • Why I like this sunscreen: Ocean Potion used to be one of my favorite sunscreens because it was one of the first to use avobenzone and it is cheap. I stopped using it for the past few years because I learned about the negative impacts of oxybenzone, which was one of the active ingredients in Ocean Potion products. Well, in my research for this post I learned that they have stopped using oxybenzone in most of their products. Yay! While I am recommending this particular product, be sure to check the ingredient list if you are buying a different OP product, such as one with a higher SPF. Some OP products appear to still have oxybenzone and/or vitamin A. Oh, and remember to choose the cream over the spray every damn day. 
  • Price: $7.99 (8 oz)

KINeSYS SPF 30

  • Chemical sunscreen
  • Active Ingredients: Avobenzone, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Oxtinoxate
  • Skin Deep Score: 3 
  • Water Resistant: “Very water & sweat resistant” (They recommend to reapply every 2 hours.)
  • Why I love this sunscreen: What?! I LOVE this sunscreen? But its chemical! And its a spray! Gasp! OK, before you think that I am one big fat contradiction, let me explain. I have been using this sunscreen for quite some time now and it is fantastic for someone who is in the sun sweating or swimming as much as I am. It is easy to apply and stays on well. (I spray it in my hands to avoid inhalation and waste. At nearly $20 for 4 oz I don’t want to waste a drop.) To add to the quality of the product, this company states that they are doing their best to be health and eco friendly. They use 100% wind power for manufacturing and in their offices and assure customers that their products protect your skin and the planet. Is it perfect? No. But it is one of the best chemical sunscreens I have found. 
  • Price: $19.00 (4 oz)

Burnout SPF 30

  • Mineral Sunscreen
  • Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide
  • Skin Deep Score: 1
  • Water Resistant: “Very water resistant”
  • Why I like this sunscreen: This is a great option as far as mineral products go. It is one of the easiest to rub in and it works well. I did notice that a few months after opening it the sunscreen seemed to separate a bit and started to leave spots of white on my body. While this really did not bother me if I was heading out on the water, I avoided using it if I was just on my way out to have a beer with friends. I am going to buy a new bottle for this summer and see if this happens again. I will be sure to update this post after I try it out! 
  • Price: $17.99 (3.4 oz)

Raw Elements SPF 30

  • Mineral Sunscreen
  • Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide
  • Skin Deep score: 1
  • Water Resistant: 80 minutes
  • Why I like this sunscreen: When you look at the ingredient list you may think this sunscreen is safe enough to eat! (It is obviously not. Do not eat it!) I wanted to try this product simply because it seems like the best one on the market, ingredient wise. Unfortunately, of all the sunscreens I have tried this one might be the hardest to rub in. If you are patient, have a very nice friend who will help you with the hard to reach places, or just want to use it on your face, I highly recommend it. Impatient or in a hurry? Grab something else. 
  • Price: $18.99 (3 oz)

All Terrain Kids SPF 30 

  • Mineral Sunscreen
  • Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide
  • Skin Deep Score: 3 
  • Water Resistant: 80 minutes
  • Why I like this sunscreen: After taking a few friends on a trip out to Santa Cruz Island, this sunscreen won as our favorite. While it is a spray, it is thick and goes on more like lotion than a spray. (I can’t imagine much gets airborne.) This product is easy to spread on and seemed to work pretty well. I definitely missed a spot or two and had some burnage, so make sure to give yourself good coverage. 
  • Price: $15.99 (3 oz)

Elemental Herbs SPF 33

  • Mineral Sunscreen
  • Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide
  • Skin Deep Score: 1
  • Water Resistant: Not water resistant. 
  • Why I like this sunscreen: Little did I know this one is actually not water resistant, so it will never be my go-to for big days. However, I have been using this during my lunch time workouts (not in the water) and it seems to work well for that purpose. As far as mineral sunscreens go, this one is pretty easy to apply. It does leave a bit of a blotchy white residue behind, so it is not my go to. If you’re looking for a good lip balm with sun protection, I highly recommend the Elemental Herbs lib balm (about $3). 
  • Price: $15.99 (3 oz)

Rankings 

Below are my rankings of all sunscreen reviewed here and in Don't Get Burned (part one). While I like all of the sunscreens listed below, I did my best to rank them in terms of how likely I am to buy and use them.

For long days in the water:

  1. Beyond Coastal Lip and Face SPF 31

  2. Burnout SPF 30 

  3. Alba SPF 30

  4. KINeSYS SPF 30

  5. All Terrain Kids SPF 30 

  6. Ocean Potion SPF 30

  7. Raw Elements SPF 30

For urban adventures (aka dry and not too sweaty):

  1. DeVita SPF 30 (face)

  2. DeVita SPF 30 (body)

  3. Elemental Herbs SPF 33 

Again, please feel free to let me know what you think of any of the sunscreens you test out. If you do not like one that I have recommended, I would love to know why it did not work for you. If you have any other recommendations, send them my way and I’ll check them out! Happy sunning.